Top of the Globe

Top of the Globe

When The Globe restaurant opened in January 2002, it heralded a new era of architecture and design not just for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia but the entire Arabic world.

To many it has come to represent the jewel in the crown of the Kingdom’s first city – an golden geodesic orb sitting proudly on top of Al Faisaliah Tower, the country’s first skyscraper.

The restaurant offers an experience that goes beyond merely food – the cutting-edge design and sweeping panoramas have help transform it into an attraction that draws visitors from across the world.

Created by Sir Norman Foster, the design is said to be based on that of a ballpoint pen. The luxury restaurant proudly sits within the golden ball, and revolves to give 360-degree views that stretch for over 40 miles across the city and beyond.

Sights you can see include Saudi Arabia’s other skyscraper, the Kingdom Centre, and the two buildings form to create a silhouetted skyline in the evening.

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Its panoramic views of the Kingdom’s first city also gave a new twist to the meaning of high altitude dining.

With a capacity of 88 diners, every aspect of The Globe interior has been designed to reflect the unique nature of its location.

In the four years it took to build The Globe, the design team ensured that every single detail, no matter how small, captured the exclusive nature of high-altitude dining experience so that guests would be assured of a truly memorable occasion.

In May, The Globe experience was recognized by the World Travel Awards, the “Oscars of the Travel Industry”. In a gala ceremony hosted in Dubai attended by the who’s who of travel and tourism, the restaurant picked up “Middle East’s Leading Architectural Concept”, following a hotly-contested competition that saw thousands of votes cast by the travel industry as well as the general public.

The judges noted how The Globe had become a globally-renowned venue, recognized throughout the world as one of the most innovative and exciting entertainment and dining experiences.

The victory was also recognition for the achievement of the Al Faisaliah Centre. Since opening in May 2000, it has become an icon of world stature and renown, “an oasis giving substance to the soul of the city”.

The centre is Riyadh’s most exclusive address and has been described as a city within a city, combining an ultra-luxury, five-star hotel, 100 private designer apartments, conference and banqueting facilities with a capacity of 4,000, a lavish shopping mall, plus of course the Al Faisaliah Tower and The Globe.

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His Highness Prince Bandar Bin Saud Bin Khalid, Chairman of Al Khozama Management Company (centre) and Mr. Hussein Hatata, Vice President, Al Khozama Management Company (second from left) receives the award

The development of Al Faisaliah Centre was inspired and created by the King Faisal Foundation and all of the profits generated by the centre’s facilities support the foundation’s international scientific, cultural and community programmes. By combining the enlightened philanthropy of the foundation with the practical features of the centre itself, Al Faisaliah has come to touch the lives of individual men and women in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and throughout the world.

The centre makes a profound architectural statement: the 875-foot tower has transformed Riyadh’s skyline, and for those at ground level the imaginative use of space has re-invigorated the traditional urban concept of balance and interaction in a place where people work, live and relax.

The centre was also designed by Lord Norman Foster. Of his creation, he spoke: “Image is always an important part of my design philosophy. The opportunity to create Riyadh’s and Saudi Arabia’s first skyscraper was also a tremendous responsibility. I wanted to come up with a concept that was not only original but one that the community would be proud of in years to come.”

And in this goal he has certainly succeeded. Not only has Al Faisaliah Centre transformed the character and perception of the capital, it has brought to Riyadh new concepts about space, architecture and living that other developments can only strive to match.

The centre is owned and operated by Al Khozama Managemt Company, which is headed by HH Prince Bandar bin Saud bin Khalid, who is widely credited for setting a new benchmark for excellence in Saudi Arabian hospitality.

As a founding member of the King Faisal Foundation, his particular interest lies in elevating the standards of hospitality within his Kingdom, as well as ensuring that the travel and tourism industry serves as a catalyst for social betterment.

At this year’s World Travel Awards HH Prince Bandar was awarded “Middle East Travel Personality of the Year”, in recognition of the pivotal role he continues to play in the ongoing growth and development of hospitality and tourism in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the region.

He has also been instrumental in raising standards in education in the Kingdom, both in general and with regards to tourism, and most recently has led the assigned Consultancy Committee within the Supreme Commission for Tourism and Antiquities, to study and recommend hotel classification and pricing guidelines for incorporation by more than 1,100 hotels in the Kingdom.

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